Whelen Motorsports

Rocca Delivers Thrilling Win

NWES • September 14, 2015

Home Victory For The Italian, Vilarino Keeps The Points Lead

Magione, Italy - September 13, 2015 - Nicoló Rocca (#56 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) shined on his home track and won his third race of the season in the ELITE 1 Semi Final 2 at the end of 25 nail-biting laps on a drying Autodromo dell’Umbria di Magione. Romain Iannetta (#7 TFT Chevrolet SS) and Frederic Gabillon (#3 Tepac RDV CompEtition Ford Mustang) ended up on the podium despite starting from the pit lane, delighting the crowd with two huge comebacks.

"The race was great! The choice to use wet tires proved to be right but it was very tricky to decide. We were in doubt until few minutes to go," said Rocca, who also won the Junior "Jerome Sarran" Trophy classification. "We took advantage of Vilarino and Kumpen’s problems and I’m sorry for Eddie, as we fougth hard and clean. We are second in points now: let’s go to Zolder and play our cards!"

Rain hit the Autodromo dell’Umbria di Magione before the race and left teams and drivers with a fundamental choice to make about their Michelin tires, setup and strategy. Many drivers opted for rain tires at the very last moment, while saturday’s winner and polesitter Alon Day (#54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) choose to start on slick, losing lots of places when the green flag dropped. Drama unfolded in turn 2, as Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) and points leader Ander Vilarino (#2 TFT-Banco Santander Chevrolet SS) both went out of track and rejoined at the back of the field.

Eddie Cheever III (#51 CAAL Racing Toyota Camry) inherited the lead, followed by Nicolò Rocca (#56 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) and Florian Renauer (#5 Dexwet Renauer Team Ford Mustang), but the running order changed quickly as Renauer faded and Rocca took the lead on lap 16, while Cheever had to stop due to a problem to his car.

Rocca couldn’t relax though, as he resisted the return of Iannetta and Gabillon, who both started from the pit lane and made their way through the field. Debutant Cesare Balistreri (#6 Double-T MRT Nocentini Chevrolet Camaro) was also very consistent, but had to retire with two laps to go. Rocca was first under the checkered flag, edging Iannetta and Gabillon by less than 1,5 seconds. Bert Longin (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) took the fourth position, while Vilarino managed to come back up to fifth, ahead of Florian Renauer (#5 Dexwet Renauer Team Ford Mustang) and Dominic Tiroch (#99 GDL Racing Ford Mustang), who led the Challenger Trophy classification.

Brandon Gdovic (#46 Precision Performance Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro) completed his first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series wet race in eight place. He constantly improved during his European week-end and said he had a lot fun driving at the Autodromo dell’Umbria di Magione. He also left Italy with a podium in the Junior Trophy category.

Fabrizio Armetta (#6 MRT by Nocentini Chevrolet Camaro) and 2014 NWES Champion Kumpen rounded out the top-10.

Ander Vilarino leaves Magione on top of the ELITE 1 classification, with a 35 points gap on Rocca and 52 on his TFT teammate Iannetta.

The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series heads now to Zolder, Belgium for 2015 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Finals on October 3-4! The 2015 champion will be crowned on the Belgian track and the title hunt is still open.